The ’90s were a simple time. Considering I was only nine years old when the decade ended, it’s no surprise things were easy. The ’90s for me were all about reading Smash Hits Magazine, getting up super early to watch the good music videos on Rage (before switching to cartoons), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and boy bands.
I loved 5ive and had quite the crush on Scott Robinson (but what girl didn’t?) and when they announced a reunion tour this year, I couldn’t miss the chance to see them live. I can’t imagine what the 7 year old me would say if I didn’t go.
Having never actually been to a boy band show before I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, I knew it would just be the four guys (J Brown left) on stage dancing and singing with no-one playing instruments, but I just didn’t know how to act. You don’t mosh at a pop concert. Headbanging would be silly. Was I meant to dance? I don’t do dancing. Plus, the Enmore Theatre was sold out, would there even be room to bust a move? I had never been to a sold out Enmore show, and to be perfectly honest I never thought 5ive would be the first concert I go to there that was.
Teen Spirit DJs were the only support of the night, and their two hour set dragged on. The two girls manning the deck made no effort to get the party started, and looking around barely anyone seemed interested in the string of ’90s tunes they played anyway. The likes of Aqua, Backstreet Boys, Savage Garden, Wheatus and early Britney Spears got a decent audience response, but aside from that everyone just wanted to see 5ive. The two hours would probably have gone by a lot faster, and felt less like some kind of torture, if the DJs interacted with the crowd. Instead they pressed play on their MacBook, took turns wearing headphones around their neck, and a few times did some pretty piss poor fading to incite a crowd sing-a-long.
Well with that over, 5ive were now ready to slam dunk da funk and so was the packed Enmore. Normally at a gig I avoid the middle of the floor. I’m small and can’t hold my own in a pit, so stick to the side where I can be close to the stage, without getting crushed. Being a 5ive concert, I neglected my rule and went not smack dab in the middle, but not too far to the side. I should not have broken my concert rule. Who knew pop fans could be so intense? They all seem to think they have a reserved spot on the floor. Sorry love, but if you get pushed and are no longer standing where you were five minutes ago, deal with it. If you wanted your own space, should have bought a ticket in the stalls. I felt more unsafe in the crowd at 5ive then I have at metal concerts. Go figure.
As for the actual performance, it was a lot of fun. The boys graced us with some cool choreographed dancing, on a stage that was all smoke and nothing else. Admittedly, it was kind of weird seeing four grown men dance and sing to pop songs compared to what I’m used to seeing on stage, but it was a 5ive concert after all. Obviously all the hits were there, “When The Lights Go Out”, “Slam Dunk (Da Funk)”, “Everybody Get Up”, along with their version of “Queen’s We Will Rock You”.
The boys (well, men now) genuinely looked like they were having fun on stage with Abz and Scott’s bromance as strong as ever. They shared jokes about not being young anymore – evidently considering how tired they looked after about the third or fourth song – and seemed honestly taken aback that so many people came out to see them. I found it a bit odd that 5ive only played for about an hour, while Teen Spirit DJs were on for two…People paid to see 5ive live, not listen to someone’s party setlist. Could have sat at home and done the same thing for free.
Hands down, the best part of the night were two guys that were right up the front who clearly have loved 5ive since the beginning and never stopped. They went nuts during every song. Seeing them made me happy, knowing they got to have this experience.
At least now I can say I have seen a boy band live, and have learned a valuable lesson: Pop crowds are intense.